Maintaining a relationship post-baby takes a lot of time and energy, exactly what you’ve got f*ck all of right now.

Reuben and I decided way back when I started the blog several years ago that our relationship was something I would never go into great detail about on the blog. I see woman slagging of their partners online and this was something I never wanted to do. I see people discussing their sex lives opening, kudos to them but that’s not us. We like to keep some things private.

Reuben has been incredible since we first welcomed Baxter into the world, sure, like I was – he was scared. We were delving into the unknown, we were sleep deprived and we let it get to us. By the time we had Lily we were confident in what we were doing. We are certainly not experts, but we were much more clued up on what to expect (especially in the first 12 weeks). There have been rocky moments where we’ve yelled at each other and questioned or criticised each other’s parenting, but we still love each other.

When you have children, all your attention turns to them and you quite often forget that your relationship with your partner needs attention too.

I can count on one hand the amount of times that Reuben and I have been out without the kids on an actual date since having the kids and that’s pretty sad. With me working full-time (+ some) and him being at home with the kids it’s so easy to get lost in the day to day life. We have had countless offers from people to watch the kids while we spend some time together, but something always comes up. A kid gets sick, one of us get sick or we’re just tired. We worry about their routines being interrupted and we just worry too much.

After recently attending one of Reuben’s best friend’s wedding last weekend (he was a groomsman and I was the Photographer) it reminded how important love is, and spending time with each other. The past few years I have been so focused on so many other things – the kids, my work, housework that I have failed to make my relationship a priority. We’re too tired to have sex, we’re too tired to go out. We’re just tired.

My parents have a weekly date night that they do every week without fail and I am so envious. Between this and the wedding, we are both looking at things with a fresh perspective. We’re now spending quality time with each other once the kids go to sleep instead of doing our own thing (Reuben will do some work and I will do admin stuff on my blog/group etc.) and we actually look forward to it. Sometimes when you’re tired and your mind is cluttered, it feels like a bit of a chore or it can easily be put in the too hard basket but with a small shift in my mind – things are improving, and I am feeling really good about it. We became parents and that was it.

I thought I would put together a small list of things you can do to keep your relationship alive after kids! I mean hey, what would I know – haha. I am only just re-beginning the journey but have been reading about it a lot and thinking of ways to refocus.

Lower your expectations – yeah, those chores you asked them to do? They’re probably not going to get done. And if they do, it won’t be up to your standard. Unless you are part of a small percentage of women who have a partner who happily partakes in household chores – lower your expectations a little. I am told a lot that I need to lower my expectations, that I expect too much and to a ridiculous standard. I moan about how he hangs the clothes on the clothes horse. I mean does it REALLY matter? They’re still going to dry. It’s going to annoy the shit out of me, but I need to learn to lower those expectations and pick my battles.

Be appreciative – Reuben does a lot for me when it comes to the kids, the house may not be spotless, but the kids are happy and fed. Like everybody, we like to be told when we’re appreciated and that our work isn’t going unnoticed. So instead of telling them everything they’re doing wrong, focus on what they’re doing right and make it known.

Prioritize sleep – I know, it’s easier said than done but hear me out. Researchers think that one of the reasons the transition to parenthood might be hard on relationships is because kids wreak havoc on your sleep. When you’re low on sleep, you might find yourself feeling more irritable and hostile therefore reacting badly when something happens.

Talk – Sounds silly I know but how often do you two just talk, no kids, no distractions, nothing? I know us, it’s not often other than a quick call after work to see if we need anything from the supermarket. When Reuben and I first met we would talk on the phone (and in person) for HOURS! To the point I think one of us actually fell asleep one night. We would talk until we were so tired we could barely stay awake or until one of our phones died. Often when we talk now, it’s about the kids (obviously) but I think it’s so important to talk about other things, how each other is doing etc.

Make time for each other – As I mentioned earlier, having time together, away from the kids is important. No matter what comes up, make it happen.

I could carry on forever, but you guys get where I am going. I am using this post to hold me accountable because I am currently not doing half of these but with small changes, the two of us are noticing a big difference.

Being a parent is tough. Go back to basics, remember why you fell in love and prioritise alone time.

I am keen to hear what things you do with your partner to ensure you have some time away from the kids and keep your relationship alive?

Why is it that there is so much fear about being real? Why are we afraid to post photos we deem ‘bad’? Are we afraid others are going to be like “damn girl, you look like shit” and I’m all “thanks, I just pushed a baby out of my vagina”.

The number one compliment I get around my blog and what I share is that fact that its real. I am far from well-presented, I barely have my shit together and make up to me is mascara and BB cream (sometimes I splash out and wear foundation). I’ve been a tomboy most of my life and have never been one to ‘dress up’ so when I do, I feel awkward as fuck and it shows in everything I do. I always feel like I don’t fit in and this, along with me currently not being happy with my body is half the reason I don’t go out.

I am just like you, well, I don’t know you and its highly likely that you’re better looking than me but you get the idea. Somebody messaged me the other day and said “you’re so lucky, your life looks amazing – you have it all”. I don’t, I am over-worked and I am tired. I have problems just like everybody else (if you don’t, I’m hella jealous). I am kind of sad that they had that impression of me because I am very honest online and with what I share.

Sure, I may take some nice pictures of the kids, that’s the bonus of being a parent and a Photographer but have you seen many photos of me? Nope, they’re few and far between. If Reuben or somebody else happens to snap a good pic of me then I am gonna use the shit out of it (haha) and I don’t know the last time I felt I looked good enough to justify a selfie. Reuben’s idea of a spontaneous photo without me having to ask if me in bed eating KFC and sharing it on Snapchat.. yeah, thanks babe.

Let’s be real people, let’s stop being scared and shy about showing off what’s really happening. Let’s share squares of reality, not carefully composed works of art. It’s unrealistic and fucking hard to maintain. I know your real life isn’t like that, especially with a child. It’s simply not possible. You might be fooling some, but you ain’t fooling me.

I am a Mum. I am struggling with my identity these last few years. I know I am more than a Mum but I am also not the old Jess (and I don’t want to be). I am quite depressed and I am working on it but old habits are hard to break (lack of patience, high expectations for everything). I am really down on my body but in all honestly, I am currently doing nothing about it. I want to lose weight, I want to be healthy but I also want to eat shit food. Time is not something I have a lot of right now so that also plays a big part in my lack of motivation to be better and feel better. I am winding down and will be finishing up my photography & work for the year so hope I can get out and do some exercise of the Christmas holidays. What a stupid time to start right? The time of year when everybody binges – ha. So there, I got my own issues, don’t you worry about that. More issues that vogue but I’m treading about water. I am honest with you guys, I see no reason not to be.

Being real is so refreshing and only then can we slowly start becoming accepting of ourselves and our own lives because we start to see others are just like us too! These unrealistic portrayals of motherhood and life in general are stupid and I am so over seeing them. They affect so many people and this makes me sad. People are so confused by social media and are literally comparing themselves, their children and their lifestyles to something that isn’t even an honest representation. We’ve all been there, I used to do. The best thing I ever did was learn to stop caring so much about what others think (thanks to reading “The Life Changing Magic of not giving a fuck) and I feel better for it. Sure, I am human. I am the queen of overthinking but I’ve stopped comparing myself to others. I have my own hustle and I don’t time to be worrying what you’re up to. In saying that, I care a lot about those close to me and I treat them right.

So here’s me, stuffing toast in my face about 10 minutes after giving birth to Lily while Reuben dresses her. How fucking good is that milo & toast post birth though!? While the images isn’t what I would deem ‘pretty’, it tells a pretty bloody cool story and that’s what photos and memories are all about.

To every mum who yelled at her kids today.

To every mum who has a sink full of dishes.

To every mum dreading night time because they know he pain of broken sleep.

To every mum dreaming of eating a hot meal in peace.

To every mum who didn’t shower today.

To every mum wondering if 10am is to early for wine.

To every mum who is constantly second guessing their every decision.

To every mum wiping away the tears and wondering how they can muster the strength to get through another day.

To every mum who is feeling the strain on their relationship.

To every mum who fed their kids cereal for dinner.

To every mum missing their friends because they can’t seem to find time for anything other than staying sane and keeping the kids alive.

You’re a good mum, tomorrow is a new day.

You got this x

The one question I am asked multiple times per day is what do you do for a job?

For those of you who have followed my journey since the beginning would know that Baxter came to work with me from 3-8 months. I am extremely lucky to work in a company that allows this and an industry where this is possible.

So, what do I do?

For the past 10+ years I’ve worked in the Social Media/advertising space. It’s a space that I am obviously very familiar with and know that is only going to grow in size and power. My role is General Manager but I do a bunch of things aside from managing the day to day operations. I help with content strategies, pitch work, photography, content production, Facebook apps/competitions and advertising. We’ve somewhat recently delved into the VR/AR space which is so exciting and I am looking forward to seeing where that goes.

As you can see, I live and breathe Social Media why is why I sometimes need my ‘digi vacays’.

Alongside my full-time job, I’ve been a Photographer for the past 10 or so years. Photographing all things lifestyle. Weddings, Maternity, Births (yes, childbirth) and most commonly, Families. I LOVE creating memories for others to cherish for a lifetime. I have a real laid-back attitude and documentary style to my photos, capturing all those small details and emotions that are often missed.

I took a break from the Photography when I was pregnant with Baxter as it was simply too time demanding and from years of hard work, I was starting to burn out and lose my love for being behind the camera.

And with this much-needed break. The blog was born. I am one of those people who always need to be busy. I always have this burning desire to do better, do more and do amazing things. I was feeling pretty shitty pregnancy wise and had no idea if this was normal as everything I seen were these beautifully curated Instagram feeds of these amazingly gorgeous, glowing women. Here I was at only 13 weeks finding any excuse to wear fat pants and stay in bed ALL day. Admittedly, I had bloody cruisy pregnancies with both kids having no morning sickness or anything. For me, there was a lot of fear and anxiety at the thought of being responsible for a small human and these were the things I couldn’t find people talking about, opening up about or admitting. I decided to start documentary my pregnancy and thoughts via a secret blog that was not published or public. I shared it with a work colleague who thought it was really good (who was clearly already well aware of my humour and views on life). After a bit of convincing and self-doubt, the blog was published, the Facebook page was created and it’s all gone down-hill since there – haha.

The blog has and always will be a side thing. I am already so immersed in this social world through work and know how easy it is so get sucked into the vortex. And I won’t lie, sometimes I do. You focus on numbers and you lose sight of why you do it. I fell into that trap and quickly snapped myself out of it when I realised numbers don’t matter. Of course, it’s cool to know that so many people follow my journey through motherhood (or want to see me fail) but ultimately, I am doing it because it helps me to write/share and I’ve learned over the past 2 years that its helping others and for me, that’s a huge driver for me. After learning there is a huge need for mums and real honest support, a year ago I started ‘The Mum Hub’ which is a support group for mums which now has 19.5k members and is growing rapidly by the day. I have since had to create a team of 15 admin/moderators to keep the wheels turning who also share my vision and they do an amazing job. Maintaining such a high quality would simply not be possible without them.

For me, I would never turn the blog into a full-time thing. It’s not something that interests me and it was never my intention. In my own personal opinion (cue all the judgement from the people that do this) I feel that once it’s your full-time gig, you do NEED the money and therefore the blog gets more of a commercial edge to it and it shows in the content. To me, that loses a bit of authenticity and sometimes makes me wonder if the endorsement is genuine. This is not always the case, it’s just my personal opinion and observation.

I’ve turned down many paid opportunities due to the fact they have not aligned well with my brand + audience, or I truly do not believe it’s a good product therefore would not feel comfortable promoting it to you all.

So, you could say, I’m a pretty busy person (and you’d be right). After Lily was born I relaunched my Photographing, solely focusing on Birth + Lifestyle. But am super cautious on how much I book because obviously, I am a Mum of two and my kids also need my time and attention. All of the side things I do and enabling me to provide and create a better future for the kids and makes me a better Mum.

Lots of you also ask what Reuben does and how we manage the lifestyle we do with him being at home with both kids. He does work to, just around the kids. I just said to him, “what do you do babe?” cos’ I have no fucking idea haha (definitely not housework). He responded, “I’m an Automotive Performance Parts Broker, and I dabble in buying and selling performance vehicles”. So basically, he’s a wheeler dealer – and it works. He’s a real hoot as you would have worked out from our live chats and his ridiculous snapchats/instastories. Having the two kids home with him is currently working for us, it allows us both to work and maintaining some sanity while still paying the mortgage and ensuring the kids and entertained and cared for.

There we have it. This is me (and Reuben) in a nut shell (god I hate that saying).